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December 12, 2015 WBAS Seasonal Advent & Christmas, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections, REL Seasons - Advent/Christmas, REL Topic- Prayer

Praying the “O Antiphons”

The “O Antiphons” are a tradition of prayer during a period of time known as the Octave of Advent. Thus, they begin on December 17th and continue through the 23rd. The seven antiphons are traditionally recited prior to the Magnificat during Vespers as part of the Liturgy of the Hours. The eighth day of the octave is Christmas Eve, so Vespers for that evening is the Christmas Vigil.Most of us are familiar with the simple Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” which forms the last of the seven O Antiphons. In like fashion, each of the preceding antiphons highlights a name of the Messiah. The “O” at the start of each gives them their unique title.

  • O Wisdom…
  • O Adonai…
  • O Root of Jesse…
  • O Key of David…
  • O Rising Dawn…
  • O King of Nations…
  • O Emmanuel…

Even if not used as part of the Liturgy of the Hours, the O Antiphons provide a beautiful framework for reflection in the week preceding Christmas. As holiday activities, ramp up, they provide a respite in the midst of the day to consider different aspects of this sacred season. They also offer parents and catechists a way to help children turn their focus from Santa Claus to Jesus, thus restoring the real “reason for the season.”


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Bright Ideas

  • Pay particular attention to the music being sung at church during Advent. What words of anticipation do you hear in them? Use this as an entrée for conversation with children to deepen their understanding of Advent.

  • Download my reflections on the “O Antiphons” and incorporate them into your personal reflections, as well as into your family or class activities. These seven cards that could be cut and used on a day-to-day basis throughout the Octave of Advent.